Diagnosis

Your dentist will likely smell both the breath from your mouth and the breath from your nose and rate the odor on a scale. Because the back of the tongue is most often the source of the smell, your dentist may also scrape it and rate its odor.

There are sophisticated detectors that can identify the chemicals responsible for bad breath, though these aren't always available.

March 02, 2016
References
  1. Bad breath: Causes and tips for controlling it. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2012;143:1053.
  2. Mark AM. Targeting bad breath. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2015;146:932.
  3. What is halitosis? Academy of General Dentistry. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=H&iid=306&aid=1254. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  4. Dry mouth. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/topics/drymouth/drymouth.htm. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  5. Should I floss? Academy of General Dentistry. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=f&iid=302&aid=1244. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  6. Diagnosing and treating bad breath. Dental Abstracts. 2014;59:203.
  7. Tongue scrapers only slightly reduce bad breath. Academy of General Dentistry. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=t&iid=306&aid=3192. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  8. Bollen CML, et al. Halitosis: The multidisciplinary approach. International Journal of Oral Science. 2012;4:55.
  9. Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 13, 2016.